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Global Feb 01, 2012

Borislow: “I am not the reason” for WPS season cancellation

By Charles Boehm

Already unpopular thanks to his growing track record of bullying, confrontational behavior, Dan Borislow has become the leading villain of the U.S. soccer world after Women’s Professional Soccer named his litigation against the league as a leading factor in the decision to cancel the 2012 season on Monday.

The magicJack owner has earned widespread condemnation for his abusive treatment of players, coaches, fellow WPS owners and staffers over the past year, with many revealing anecdotes brought to light by email traffic highlighted in a players’ union grievance as well as court documents related to his injunction seeking magicJack’s reinstatement to the league. And league officials have left little doubt that Borislow’s lawsuit was a “ball and chain” for WPS as it attempted to survive and grow in its fourth year of existence.

“I think it would have been irresponsible to both put on the season and deal with the legal issue if we found ourselves, at some point in the season, unable to move forward for whatever reason,” said league CEO Jennifer O’Sullivan in a Monday afternoon media conference call. “The owners have tried to come to a resolution several times and have been unable to.”

But in an exclusive email conversation with Potomac Soccer Wire, Borislow himself rejected this explanation, claiming that he’d made multiple offers to settle his lawsuit, including the compromise deal based on a series of exhibition matches between magicJack and WPS clubs which ESPNW’s Beau Dure reported on January 18.

“The compromise was a deal that was read into the record. There wasn’t going to be any more litigation. I don’t get it. They seemed very happy with the deal,” wrote Borislow in one of a series of emails sent late Monday night.

“I gave them an option to effectively suspend me for a year and I would have settled. I gave them many different alternatives, and most of them were good. I am not the reason for today’s action. Very sad day for the players and people like [Western New York Flash owner] Joe [Sahlen] and I who wanted to play this year.”

O’Sullivan has said little about that compromise to this point, electing not to answer questions about specific aspects of the litigation process, including Borislow’s previous assertion that legal fees should not be a crippling financial burden for WPS because league attorney Pamela Fulmer has provided her services at reduced or no cost.

“Them closing up shop and fighting me should not be in the same sentence,” wrote Borislow. “They had different reasons. They had a deal with me and there was not to be anymore litigation. I thought it was a solid deal. The fans get to see the very best players in the world and I didn’t have to live in their world.”

Borislow has often expressed a desire to help the U.S. Women’s National Team succeed as a leading motivation for involvement in WPS. When asked about the league’s struggles possibly impacting the national team negatively, he predicted that U.S. Soccer would stage a residential camp ahead of its involvement in this summer’s Olympic Games in London.

“I always thought the best thing was a res camp for the WNT,” he said. “This is a sad day, but the women won’t be slowed down in the quest for gold. Most wanted a camp.”

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